My newest painting, which I’ve named “Autumn Hope.”

Always looking for a positive spin can sometimes be exhausting. There, I said it! With honesty, I confess that occasionally the urge to wallow in self-pity can be overwhelming. I try to channel self-compassion, because I know I can easily be triggered to feel pain from my past without even realizing it. I am fortunate to have dodged any recent major tragedies, so I feel guilty when I get depressed over smaller things.

In November, I decided to undergo an elective brow-lift procedure. It would allow me to open my eyes more and was not for cosmetic reasons. I’ve dealt with severe dry eyes for ten years now and the heaviness from my sagging brows added more discomfort.

I didn’t want a scar above my eyebrow, so the plastic surgeon recommended another approach named “Brow Pexy.” The eyelid is cut in the fold and peeled back. Then a dissolvable stitch is put underneath that anchors the eyebrow to the eye socket higher up. Eventually, scar tissue replaces the stitch over time. Given the choice to undergo a local anesthetic or general anesthesia, I chose to go through it awake.

I would describe the entire experience as pretty brutal. I definitely felt sharp pain as he worked on me. It involved 90 minutes of lying still while the surgeon and his assistant tugged, cauterized (nasty smell) and re-injected me with oodles of local anesthetic. His growling stomach noise went on the whole time and was very unsettling.

I tried not to squirm when he complained that I was a “bleeder” and said, “Did you know you are resistant to local anesthesia? Most people don’t require so many injections.”

After an interminable 90 minutes, I was bandaged and trudged slowly toward the parking lot where my son waited to pick me up. I held an ice pack on my forehead and moaned from a horrible headache. Over the next few days, I openly wept and struggled to think clearly.

I took this picture the day I came home after having “Brow Pexy.” The tape is holding the stitches. I tried to crack a smile!

For another two weeks, my weeping over little things continued. After one week the stitches came out, which helped. I had to avoid exercise and the isolation aggravated my depression. I slept a lot. I waited to experience any kind of benefit, but was far too swollen to notice anything. My respite came with visits from special friends, which kept my tears flowing.

I had a follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon three weeks later. I wondered what he would say, because in my gut I didn’t see much difference. Unfortunately, he agreed that my brows were about the same as before.

I asked him if I could have broken the delicate inside stitch by sneezing, (that was so painful it almost knocked me out.) He replied that he wasn’t sure and reiterated that Brow Pexy was a very subtle approach and not really a significant lift for eyebrows. He mentioned some other ideas we could try later on – like a temporal facelift. As he talked about it, my mind drifted off – I had zero interest in considering any further surgery.

I left that appointment and had a good cry in my car.

Thankfully, my positive spin filters finally kicked in. I decided “less was more.” As the swelling went down, I decided that perhaps this was exactly what I needed, something subtle. He had also taken off a little bit of eyelid, which was a slight difference and I noticed that my eyes were slightly more open.

That was good enough for me!

The area where I gathered all types of leaves for my painting.

The day before my eyebrow procedure, I went for a walk at a beautiful park with a good friend. I brought a plastic bag so I could collect autumn leaves and left with a lovely assortment that day. For several months, I hadn’t felt like painting, but I was ready to create something that appealed to me – even though I had done autumn leaves the year before. It would give me something to do while I was healing.

An example of one of the photos I used to create my painting. I eliminated white spaces and excessive brown spots.

It took about five days for me to photograph the leaf collection after my surgery. Even though my eyes were swollen, somehow I could still light and arrange them. Not all of them retained their color and shape, but most were good enough. I sorted out the best photos and created a composite using Photoshop.

I painted with watercolor dyes and carefully followed my layout. I was satisfied if I could paint a leaf or two every other day. My painting slowly unfolded into a beautiful tapestry of color and texture. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the more leaves I painted – the more exciting it was to see everything filling in and coming together.

After almost a month of annoying brain fog and depression, I began to pop out of it.

I started performing again on the meditation app, Insight Timer. It felt good to be back, singing the inspiring songs that helped heal and uplift me.

And then came another whisper in the darkness – I heard a new song forming! Exquisite guitar passages enveloped me and my heart swelled with joy. Just when I needed something to pull me through, this new music appeared!

It was three years since I last composed anything new. I planned to record my new song, but was still exploring the multitude of passages and combinations. With excitement, I played my new guitar instrumental live on Insight Timer. Tentatively, I named it “My Hopeful Heart,” which spoke to my steadfast wish to heal. But my subconscious held onto the title “Autumn Hope.” I am working on releasing it on Insight Timer soon and share an except of it at the beginning of this post.

This is me, before playing my newest instrumental live on Insight Timer. I’ll be doing it often until I’ve decided my song’s format.

My oldest son came to visit over the holidays. Having my two sons together was simply wonderful. As I painted autumn leaves, I enjoyed listening to their laughter while gaming.

This was definitely a holiday I would never forget. My daughter became officially engaged, and that was something else to celebrate.

But it was the joy of creating new music that lifted me right out of my funk. I am ready to begin the New Year with optimism and hope.

My hopeful heart continues to beat with love. I love my children, my creativity, and my life.

My finished painting – before adding details with colored pencils.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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17 Responses to AUTUMN HOPE

  1. Dear Judy,

    May your elective brow-lift procedure heal nicely, and may you enjoy your new look!

    I am very impressed and would definitely commend you very highly on your wonderful creativity in producing such a lovely painting called “Autumn Hope”, which, if I were to have one, would not hesitate to display it. Well done!

    It seems that we have a number of things in common, namely, our love of art, and perhaps even our promoting other artists, either by championing them and/or critiquing their works. Also, as a lover, collector, composer and connoisseur of art and music, I like to think about and comment on art when time permits and circumstance prevails. Here is a multimedia post of mine promoting the works of John Clinock, available at

    In addition, I often explore the intersections of art and science, of public and private spaces, of the cultural and the technological. Whilst I concede that technology offers enormous unexplored potential allowing emerging artists to express themselves in unprecedented ways, I do have certain concerns and caveats regarding science “reproducing” reality and artists representing it. In a special post entitled “🎧 Facing the Noise & Music: Playgrounds for Biophobic Citizens 🏗🌁🗼“, I have endeavoured to give a very good inkling of the kind of society that humans might be heading towards.

    I am certainly glad and grateful that we are all artists here conversing with each other enthusiastically, and seeing what others have created with flair and passion!

    Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year ☃️🎅! Speaking of the festive season, I would like to inform that I have continued to introduce even more graphics and animations to my post entitled “🎊 Season’s Greetings: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 🎄🎅☃️” over the past few days. It is now very polished. May you enjoy its extra features and let me know what you think by leaving another comment there.

    May you find the rest of 2021 and the forthcoming 2022 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your painting, singing, playing the piano, writing, reading, thinking and blogging whatever topics that take your intellectual fantasy and aesthetic reverie!

    Take care and prosper!

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kegarland says:

    My first response was “are you kidding me???” But as I read, you affirmed something I continue to learn. We have to remember our positive/healthy coping strategies, so that we are not triggered by current or past pain. It’s so hard, but your words and actions remind me of how much it is in our power to turn things around so we don’t live in sadness and bitterness.

    I’m really sorry to hear this surgery didn’t turn out as you expected, but the resulting lesson (and art) is truly beautiful

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Katherin, I knew you would get it! It is so easy to go back to our past trauma when we are triggered. I’m glad it turned around and that I didn’t have anything worse. That can definitely happen with plastic surgery.

      I appreciate your support and beautiful comment very much as always, Katherin. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Janet Fattal says:

    Love to hear about your renewed creativity and optimism. You always amaze and inspire.
    How can I get a copy of the painting?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, dear Janet! I hoped you caught my line about the respite I received from dear friends. OMG, that day when you and TYB came over was so appreciated!!
      I am happy to get you a copy of the painting. We can upload it to Shutterfly and make you a custom print – pearlescent or canvas or whatever your heart desires. I’ll share the scan soon. I’m trying a new process with a computer whiz who tells me that he can get me something better than my old scanner can.
      You made my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ann Coleman says:

    I loved the painting and the song! The song is very peaceful and hopeful, and the painting is beautiful. I’m so sorry you had that experience with a brow lift. I did one a few years ago, but it was the simple version that left tiny, almost invisible scars right on the eyebrow line. But I do remember being worried about big scars that would show. I suffer from a blocked tear duct that makes my eyes water sometimes, and the drooping eyelids would catch the moisture and create a scar. The doctor said this procedure was the least invasive way to deal with it, and being a chicken, that’s what I opted for. I hope your healing continues, both physically and emotionally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Wow, Ann, thank you for your compliments on my painting and song, too. I appreciate your explaining your eyelid procedure so clearly. Perhaps that would have worked better for me – the scar sounds so minor. I guess it was a learning experience for me.
      I’m really glad it worked for you!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This entire post is beautiful, Judy, written by a beautiful woman who manages to smile even with stitches. I love the music and “Autumn Hope,” wow! I will remember that title and your colorful artwork for sure come November when the days are short, but the nights are especially long with sorrow. You’ve become so significant in my life, and you matter deeply to me and so many others. PS: so happy to hear about the fam. Congrats to your daughter! 🤍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Stacy! Your comment touches me and I feel the same way about you. The fall holds great sorrow for me and this title fit as a way to flex my faith muscle. (I learned that from you).
      Thanks for the congratulations regarding my daughter. I have a lot to look forward to in the future. Hoping you do, too. May 2022 be a good year, with healing all around us.

      Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Belinda O says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your eyelid surgery! The whole ordeal sounds awful. I commend you for finding hope and positivity despite the outcome, and moving forward. Your artwork as always amazes me. It is so realistic and yet has a life of its own–something not borrowed from the photos that inspire it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Belinda! I love what you wrote about my painting. I’m moving forward with positivity into the coming year. Glad I could vent on my blog post – it really helped me feel better!
      I really appreciate your support and compliments!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. lorriebowden says:

    Hi Judy 🙂 Wow…there’s so much to comment on in this post. First, I am sorry that you were down in the dumps…I get it. I feel like I took a little visit there myself. But hopefully we are both coming out of that and walking in new energy in this new year!! Congrats to your daughter…ohhhh a wedding!! That will be so exciting!! And I love your song and the painting is beautiful! I will write soon…just know that I am thinking of you and always sending beautiful energy that hopefully feels like a warm hug!! Much love and light dear friend ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Lorrie. I know how you understand and I’m glad I was able to acknowledge my feelings. I am doing much, much better. I feel your beautiful energy and today I played tennis. It was glorious!
      I’m thankful you are out of the dumps, my friend. May we both forge onward in 2022 to follow our dreams and feel contentment! Much love to you, my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • lorriebowden says:

        Much love right back, Judy 💜 We are on a journey and I now understand that there are hills and valleys…and it’s okay to be sad sometimes! Happy that you are doing and feeling better…that’s the important part…that we don’t stay in the low energies. So much love your way!! 😊💜

        Liked by 2 people

  9. A. Michelle! says:

    I pray it all continues to get better for you. I enjoyed reading this; I smiled. Beautiful painting. Music is healing. Keep safe; be well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much! Things are definitely better and my healing music continues to spread its magic. I will be releasing “Autumn Hope” meditation track very soon. Your comment is very appreciated and I am touched by your caring!

      Liked by 2 people

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